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TCT’s The Countless Thanks 2022: Lauren Brace

To the staff of TCT

First and foremost, I must thank the people that make me look forward to the end of every school day, the people who make room 139 a home. Each of you inspires me to continue writing and share my words with the world. Sofia Hargis-Acevedo, you are one of the cutest people I know. Your eloquent vulnerability in writing is beautiful to read, and I’m so glad I get to start every 6th hour with you at the front of the room. Improvising with you is always a blast, and I can’t wait to be in another scene with “Tammy.” Allie Beaumont, your joyful essence is contagious. Your beauty is a perfection that I continuously admire—continue to shine inside and out. Eva Harshman, I wish more people told you how hilarious you are. Your relatable sense of humor never fails to make me smile, and your incredible passion shines through every editorial that pours from your fingertips. I’m so grateful for the friendship we have, and I will always love to chat about Odyssey of the Mind with you. Kiera Kemppainen, you are a courageous leader, sharing the paramount words that no one else has the guts to. Always true to yourself, you are genuinely kind and understanding. I’m so glad that fate landed our designated spots to be next to each other in class. I have greatly enjoyed our friendship. Sydney Race, you know how to demand the attention of a room. When you boldly stand on the table, I am completely immersed in every word you say; furthermore, your editorials are so unique that I’m left in wonder by your talent. Katelynn Heilman, I’m so lucky to start and end my days with your abundance of light. I, of course, am amazed by your talent as I sing and write by your side, but more importantly, you’ve been a terrific friend. Wherever the future takes you, I know it’s somewhere bright. Addy Cousins, the masterpiece we have created together has been my favorite project I’ve ever worked on. Your friendship came to be so entirely out of the blue, and I’m so glad that you came to me with the passion that you did for this podcast. I seriously cannot tell you how excited I am to see where life takes us next. Alex Smith, your can-do attitude is something I truly admire. You are never scared to share your opinions, and your voice shines through in all of your writing. Continue to be creative, ask questions, and enjoy every moment with the incredible friendships you create. Arpita Das, I think everyone needs someone like you in their life. You are kind, hardworking, and considerate. Thanks for being one of my biggest cheerleaders, you have a beautiful heart. I know that you’re going to thrive!  Payton Vincent, we have both grown so much since our rocky friendship beginnings in 4th grade! You have such a kind and calm aura that seems to guide you through life, and I feel that you are very insightful in every conversation that we have. I’m so glad that we were given the opportunity to reconnect during our senior year. Gigi Sinicrope, I admire the passion and humor that comes so strongly through your writing. You’re always 100% honest and confident in who you are. Your boldness in writing is inspiring. Annie Douma, it has been so wonderful having a designated photographer added to TCT! You’re also a wonderful tablemate in AP Lit, thanks for all that you contribute. I’m glad I branched out to sit with new people. All writers in WFP, I have loved seeing your excitement with every published story, it reminds me of that same spark I had last year. Each of you is already incredibly talented; I know that I’ll be reading the site after I graduate to continue reading your wonderful words.

To Central Singers

All of you bring so much personality to my mornings. Thank you for welcoming me into choir with minimal experience beforehand and always hyping me up at a time as early as 6:45 am. Singing together brings me so much joy; I’m incredibly proud of the harmony we’re able to create together. 

To the people who make me laugh and create the best memories

Maddy Bachert, your laughter and smiles are contagious, and I love every time we get together. The way you picked up the tenor drums was inspiring, and you constantly surprise me with your talent. Thanks for being a wonderful friend. DeLaina Billingsley, I didn’t know that so much kindness and support could come from one person until I met you. You’re everyone’s biggest cheerleader, always thinking of others before yourself. You are so freaking hilarious; I love every conversation with you. Your confidence has grown so much, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes you. Ian Mahoney, you amaze everyone with your talent. Without knowing it, you’ve always inspired me to improve my abilities beyond what I think possible. A party never seems to be complete without you; you’re funny, outgoing, and enthusiastic. Thanks for bringing so much joy to my life. Aden Pomeroy, thank you for every adventure we have together. You’re like a brother to me; thanks for putting up with my crazy moods these past eight years and giving me the best friendship I could ask for. I couldn’t imagine high school without you. Emma Raisch, your kindness shines through every part of your personality. You are a talented, empathetic, and dedicated individual who always puts your best foot forward. I’m so grateful that I get to be your friend. Kyra Thomas, thanks for always making me laugh in AP Calc. Your sense of style is one of the cutest at our school, and you are incredibly passionate. I love all of our daily rants; they definitely help me get through the day. Ashley Yarnell, thank you for bringing me the best surprises with an unexpected cookie or Starbucks delivery. You definitely know how to make someone smile. Thank you for teaching me the newest slang and making me laugh with your usage of it. Ellory Zietz, thank you for always showing interest and being one of my most supportive friends. I knew that you were talented back in middle school, but since then, you have thrived even more in the challenges thrown your way. Continue to be your amazing self, and thank you for always listening. 

To Lia Stevenson

You joined our OM team in a heartbeat, and with just one practice, you proved that asking you was the best decision we could have made. You’re hilarious, passionate, and an overall beautiful human being. I’m not sure what I did to deserve the title of your “favorite Brace twin” or “favorite saxophone player,” but you light up my day every time you greet me and say hello.

To Toby Cameron

Your contributions to our OM team don’t go unnoticed; thanks for the enthusiasm and skill that you’ve demonstrated. In addition, I’ve loved marching by your side. You are definitely one of the strongest players in the section, and I’m continuously impressed by your ability to march and memorize music. 

To Samuel Cerezo

No puedo creer que tengo la suerte de tener un amigo de Ecuador. Gracias por ser siempre un amigo tan solidario y simpático. Me encanta cada conversación que tenemos y cada juego que jugamos juntos.

To Alex Fletcher, Sully Lower, Cameron Penner, and Maggie Schimeck

Each of you have a level of confidence that I admire, and your greetings in the hallways are unmatched. You make me feel like I belong wherever I am, and I will always be grateful for the enthusiasm and friendship you show through every encounter. 

To everyone in the band, but specifically, the best section

I am so honored to lead the saxophones throughout band camp and all of this rather long marching season. You all are enthusiastic, talented, and great friends; I can’t wait to come back and watch you perform next year. I wouldn’t love band nearly as much if it weren’t for all of you. Thanks for always putting your best roll step forward and putting on the best talent show act. 

To my teachers

Mr. Ivory, I’m so glad I’ve been able to geek out with you over our shared love for Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. You designate time to hear about the well-being of your students, and I’m always grateful for our 6:45 morning chats. Your passion for what you teach is inspiring; thank you for your endless wisdom and patience in vocal skills. Ms. Zilhaver, thank you for always greeting your students with a smile. You acknowledge the efforts of your students and make the best environment possible for everyone. I’ve loved bonding over our love for Disney movies and musicals; thanks for inviting me to join you in belting Frozen songs at the Frozen sing-along at Hollywood Studios, I had a blast. Mrs. Stone, thanks for being so incredibly passionate and excited about what you teach and always providing help to your students. You fight for the best technology to ensure the most beneficial learning experience. Thank you for everything. Mr. Smith, I never expected you to make AP Calc a hilarious experience, but you effortlessly make me laugh every day. Thanks for writing explanations for every problem I get wrong and allowing us opportunities to learn from our mistakes. I expected to dread going to math class, but thanks for making it surprisingly enjoyable. Señora Dykhouse, gracias por mostrarles a sus estudiantes cuánto pueden entender y lograr mientras ellos hablan en un idioma extranjero. Usted siempre nos reta y nos inspira a seguir mejorando. Gracias por todo. Mrs. Penninga,  you are a walking ray of sunshine. Thank you for all the support and consideration that goes into your students’ learning; you always take the time to ask for our input. You are very observant, sympathetic, and kind; I look forward to seeing you every day. Mr. George, I’m so lucky to have had you as a teacher for three years; I wish I could have had you for four. You have greatly impacted my high school career and even created an environment that made me wish to pursue journalism in the future. Thank you for always placing focus on letting your students pursue education in a manner that will be interesting to them and taking the time to learn the passions of every individual that walks into your classroom. 

To my Grandparents

I know you each spoil me more than I deserve, but I’m always thankful for all of your time. Thank you for your unending support and genuine interest in all that I do. I find such a strong sense of comfort in all the traditions we share during our get-togethers. Thanks for bestowing your wisdom and love; I am forever grateful to you. 

To my cousins

I could never say thank you enough for all the hugs, smiles, and memories you bring to my life. Hailey, I’ve always loved the connection we share as you get to take part in the older half of our cousin dynamic. I still can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have you on my OM team. You truly listen to everything I have to say, and I’m so grateful for every conversation. Thanks for being my nerdy band kid cousin that I can talk about anything with. You mean more to me than you may ever know. Ashley, you truly are a cheerleader. Some kids still talk about how cute it is when you scream our names at band performances, and all your comments on my articles crack me up. Thanks for being a curious, enthusiastic, and adorable ray of happiness in my life. Claire, your constant desire to achieve and pursue greatness is an admirable quality that doesn’t go unnoticed. I’m constantly impressed by everything you pour your time and heart into; you’re always ready to learn something new. Needless to say, I’m grateful for you and your love. Emma, you have the ability to make everyone smile when you walk into a room. You are extremely kind and considerate, always willing to volunteer for anything. I’m so glad you’re a part of my life. 

To my Aunts and Uncles

How did I become so lucky to have the most supportive family members? Thank you for coming to my performances, reading my articles, and showing a genuine interest in whatever I’m doing. You each put so much thought and consideration into your actions and bring unique perspectives into my life. I love every game night, every drive, and every moment we spend together; thanks for making me laugh and smile.

To my Mom

Thank you for always being there. Your love and constant support mean the world to me. Thank you for all the work you do behind the scenes to make sure that everything goes smoothly. You impress me every day with how considerate you are and how much you remember from our conversations. I’ve never met anyone who can listen as well as you can; I find myself remembering little details of my day and imagining your reaction when I tell you. I love you to infinity and beyond. 

To my Dad

Thanks for always offering your words of advice and wisdom, even when I don’t want to hear them. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, I couldn’t be more grateful for everything you contribute to our family. As much as I roll my eyes at your “dad jokes,” you make me laugh with how deeply passionate you are about the nerdiest things known to mankind. I’m so proud to call you my dad. I love you to the Death Star and back. 

To Tara

You asked me not to write something cheesy and cute, but after nearly eighteen years of being my twin sister, you should know that I can’t help it. It’s impossible to imagine my life without you. You are my favorite person in the entire world. I’m the luckiest to have a sibling who can relate to me in nearly every scenario and every emotion. I come into your room an average of 20 times a day; sometimes it’s because I need to wake you up from a nap, but most of the time it’s because I’ll never grow tired of hearing your thoughts and opinions. 

I’m so impressed with how you’ve grown in your leadership role as a drum major and exceeded expectations in your artistic abilities. I can’t wait to see where college takes you, and I know that your caring and passionate personality will take you far in your career as a doctor. 

You are a constant presence of outgoing and supportive joy, continuing to drag me to social functions when I want nothing more than to be alone in my room. Thank you for introducing me to the finer things in life and showing me how beautiful the world is from your perspective. I love you always and forever.

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